Vasken Ohanian

Composer, Conductor, Countertenor

About Vasken Ohanian

My Story

What is Music?

         To many, music is entertainment, to others - art.  Music is a language with the capacity to move us the way other languages are seldom able to.  It is a sonic force that is capable of both rousing and calming the beasts inside us that we call "emotions".

         Since my first violin lesson over 20 years ago, I have come to appreciate just how important this characteristic of music is. Growing up as an introverted child, I looked to Bach, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky to understand myself and the world around me. Singing and performing were my modes of expression (Yes, I was and forever will remain a nerd).  As I grew older, I absorbed more and more music.  Opera, Contemporary Classical, Musical Theater, Armenian sacred & folk, Hip-Hop, Rock... I immersed myself so far into the musical world that by the end of my high school years, my own voice wanted to come out through music.

         Composing gave me an infinite number of ways to express myself.  I think that's ultimately why I decided to get my undergraduate degree studying composition at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.  I could have easily followed the path of
my parents and studied physics, but for whatever reason, music continued to be at the center of my being.  The more I composed and performed in my college years, the more my understanding and hunger for music grew.

         It was around this time when I began to understand the ability of music to move the hearts of people.  Even as I work to finish my Master's Degrees in Composition and Choral-Conducting at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music, I become more conscious of making music with purpose, whether that purpose is rousing or calming, philosophical or nonsensical.

         Is music entertainment?  Is music art?  Is music a language? Perhaps it all these things and more.  These are the things I continue to explore.  But, what I do know, is that whether I'm composing an oratorio or conducting an ensemble or singing with the Rolling Stones, the music makes a positive difference in people's lives.  So for myself... 

Music is a way of life. 

Vasken OHanian


Copyright 2018 by Vasken Ohanian.  All rights reserved.